Lice & Diseases

Lice (Louse-borne) Related Diseases

Partial List


Rickettsial pox

Boutonneuse fever

African tick bite fever

Rocky Mountain spotted fever

Spotted Fevers

Louse Borne Relapsing Fever (Borrelia recurrentis)

Bartonella quintana (Trench fever)

Yersinia pestis

Borrelia recurrentis

Acinetobacter spp. (A. baumannii)

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES)

Rickettsia prowazekii

Wobachia Bacteria Disease

Scientific Article Quotes

"Bartonella quintana DNA has been detected exclusively in head lice [and nits]..." Click Here

"Once removed from their environment, body and head lice are indistinguishable. Neither the morphological criteria used since the mid-18th century nor the various genetic studies conducted since the advent of molecular biology tools have allowed body lice and head lice to be differentiated." Click Here

"We also hypothesized that lice from different areas are interbreeding"

PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e37804. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0037804. Epub 2012 May 25.

"Evidence for an African cluster of human head and body lice with variable colors and interbreeding of lice between continents." Veracx A1, Boutellis A, Merhej V, Diatta G, Raoult D.

"Currently, there is no tool for typing Rickettsia prowazekii, the causative agent of epidemic typhus, currently considered a potential bioterrorism agent, at the strain level." Click Here


"Indigenous children living in remote Australia are suffering from infections with sequelae that are causing devastating effects that will continue into adulthood. Impetigo, also known as school sores, is a contagious, superficial pyogenic skin infection; the causative organism is commonly Group A beta-haemolytic streptococci (GAS) also known as Streptococcus pyogenes1. GAS infections have been reported to be endemic in some Northern Territory communities, with 70% of children having impetigo as a result of infected scabies and other infestation lesions2.

A known post-infection sequelae of GAS is rheumatic heart disease; GAS is also believed to contribute to adult renal disease subsequent to post streptococcal glomerular nephritis2. Because of this prevention, early detection and aggressive management of skin infections experienced by remote Indigenous children is essential. An understanding the social determinates of health is also needed to provide comprehensive care for Indigenous children. This case study will describe the care of a small Indigenous child suffering from impetigo secondary to head louse infestation." Click Here


"LBRF epidemics occurred frequently in Europe during the early 20th Century. Between 1919 and 1923, 13 million cases resulting in 5 million deaths occurred in the social upheaval that overtook Russia and eastern Europe. During World War II, a million cases occurred in North Africa." Click Here

"Since the 1800s, the only known vector of Borrelia recurrentis has been the body louse. In 2011, we found B. recurrentis DNA in 23% of head lice from patients with louse-borne relapsing fever in Ethiopia. Whether head lice can transmit these bacteria from one person to another remains to be determined." Click Here

Potential Conditions & Symptoms (Very LIMITED List)

Dependent on Disease(s) Transmitted

Iron-deficiency anemia

Bacillary angiomatosis


Chronic bacteremia

Chronic lymphadenopathy


Head Lice As Vectors Of Diseases

Neurological Manifestations of Bartonellosis in ImmunocompetentPatients: A Composite of Reports from 2005–2012

Body Lice Originate from Head Lice

Beyond Anthrax: The Weaponization of Infectious Diseases

Supergroup F Wolbachia bacteria parasitise lice

Excretion of living Borrelia recurrentis in feces of infected human body lice